That romantic image of the south of France, living in our imagination was created mainly by artists and writers. The name “Cote d’Azur” in 1887 thanks to the poet Stéphen Liégeard from Burgundy. By analogy with the “Golden Coast” (Côte-d’Or in Burgundy) of his homeland, he called the coast of southern France Côte d’Azur. Many creative people who loved to relax in the warm rays of the southern French sun. That is how French Riviera became glorified all over the world. Many cities in the south of France now have many museums and galleries devoted to famous artists. For example, you can admire the creations of Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Renoir, Cocteau and others in Nice and in the towns around.
Artists in the south of France
Many impressionists rushed south for this bewitching glare. Monet wrote that the colours here are so bright that if you convey them with impeccable accuracy, no one will believe that this happens in reality. Renoir came more than once to get golden colours. The impressionists were followed by the post-impressionists, like Van Gogh and Gauguin.
Matisse was also struck by the colours of Provence. When the artist came to Nice, he wrote that the unforgettable reflection of January and the saturation of daylight made him stay.
Picasso also did not deprive the south of France. It was in the Mediterranean of France where he spent most of his life. The Picasso Museum can now be visited in Antibes.
In the 1950s, a new direction of painting was born in Nice – new realism. Its founders were such artists as Yves Klein, Arman, Martial Reiss, Tinguely, Cesar, Niky de Saint-Fall and Daniel Spoerri. Klein told about this movement, that “we live in a land of rest, and that makes us goofy.”
Writers in the South of France
Many writers also sought south for a warm climate and inexpensive life. In 1924 the famous American writer Scott Fitzgerald came to the Cote d’Azur. Later their villa was occupied by another no less well-known compatriot – Ernest Hemingway. Many writers led a vibrant, idle life on the French Riviera. Francis Scott Fitzgerald (“Tender is the Night”) or Francoise Sagan (“Hello, Sadness”) described it in their novels.